Vans Downtown Showdown 2009 Article at Skatepark of Tampa

Vans Downtown Showdown 2009

Posted on Monday, September 28, 2009 by Ryan

Words by Ryan Clements
Photos and Captions by Rob Meronek

The Foundation crew was the first on the scene each day. That could by why they killed it on everything and won. That's Joel Morgenweck, Alex Gourdouros, TM Mike Sinclair, and Nick Merlino throwing up the F-U
Nick Merlino wasted no time and was switch heelflipping the 12 set before anyone even got to the Contest
Joel Morgenweck doesn't skate for Foundation. He was just rolling with the crew but also killing this 12 set. Schaefer Twittered it as you can see in the last frame and also paid him for the 360 flip
Joel Morgenweck holding on to a backside flip
Dr. Z and the Zoo York crew
Kenny Anderson isn't skating in the Contest. He just stopped by to skate. It was a great Kenny Anderson demo from The Perfect Man. That's a frontside feeble grind over the bench on the Girl obstacle
If the upside down cross Creature Obstacle offends you, take your closed mind to the other side of it and it's right side up
The Flip Pyramid was huge. That's Colin Clark hard at work
I don't think they ended up using these cigarette pole jams. DJ Wade probably smoked them
The Girl obstacle was called Little China Girl. That coping block was rough
Peter Watkins - frontside tailslide backside revert over the bench
Eli Reed - backside 180 fakie 5-0
Tyler Surrey - frontside boardslide over the bench
Brian Anderson - backside tailslide over the bench
Johnny Layton really makes the grabs look good
Let's take a break and do some people watching. Was there a shark attack at the Contest that I didn't hear about?
Patrick Pasquale and a short skirt
Son of Conan the Barbarian
Candice and Laura from etnies busted me doing crowd spy shots
A lineup of all the pros and ams on the Flip obstacle. Can you name every single one?
Purple looks good on girls, not on dudes
The Captain and Casey Show went 80's this weekend
This is my favorite photo of the weekend. It's accidentally way over exposed, but I like it that way. After seeing him skate in person several times over the years, I'm a fan of Neil Heddings
You can't people watch without gear checking. Check out Jason Rothmeyer's Fallens
Ryan Clements, Jason Rothmeyer, Mike Sinclair, and James Craig
Apparently that's the porch that the Cosby Show was filmed on. This SPoTlight Productions family is much more dysfunctional
Chris Troy and Brian Schaefer
Ryan Clements and Vern Laird
This is the first webcast we've done that actually breaks into live TV. Hopefully Tampa Am and Pro are fully live on Fuel TV next time
It was crazy with skating coming from all directions on the Creature obstacle. The huge TV next to it helped
I can't believe Angel Ramirez did a backside noseblunt on that thing
Geoff Rowley - lipslide
As you can see by the last frames, Billy Marks was pretty surprised when he made this double flip first try
Sean Malto has the best overcrook there is
Chaz Ortiz - backside flip
Chris Troy - 360 flip
Nick Trapasso - noseblunt slide
Nick Merlino - switch back lip. Damn, son
Angel Ramirez - frontside 5-0
Nick Merlino had some girl's number on his board. Schaefer and I tried calling so we could get this girl's impression of Nick, but got no answer
Nick Merlino was the Top Am of the Day and got five grand for that
If you were in this crowd, thanks for coming to our skateboard shindig
Foundation split up $30,000 among the team for winning it this year
For a while it seemed to be snowing in LA, but that was just Hollywood magic for a Vans commercial that was being filmed
After the event, we had a 5am alarm set for a flight back home, but we were still able to get out and have a few beers. Sam Smyth from Girl - thanks for the shots
Bill Wiess and Colin Clark drinking $6 Bud Light. Welcome to Hollywood
In addition to what's on the site, there are also plenty of randoms on the SPoT Twitter page. I went a little nuts on it yesterday while super drunk. There's about one shirtless photo a week of Brian Schaefer on there. This one's from the crazy costume characters that lurk Hollywood Boulevard
In a local pizza joint on Hollywood Boulevard, these four girls were passed out at the table. Must be some good pizza. Good night everyone. See you next year
Vans Downtown Showdown 2009 Full Results
My morning started off at a really early 3:45am to catch a flight from Tampa to San Diego. From there I got picked up from the airport and driven to my motorcycle that was being stored in Jesse Fritch’s garage in Carlsbad. I then hopped on my bike and rode the 100 or so miles to Hollywood to meet up with the rest of the SPoTlight crew at Paramount Studios on Melrose.

This is the fifth year of the Vans Downtown Showdown and it never ceases to be an exciting event due to the fact that it really attracts the superstars. All of the invited teams have the opportunity to submit drawings for the obstacles they wish to create. The “best” four obstacles are then chosen and constructed right there on a movie set at Paramount. The scene itself is such a cool spot for a skateboarding event. Wandering around and checking out all of the sets, some that are actually producing movies, is a pretty cool experience. I particularly enjoy seeing the trams full of tourists coming through. “Look mom. Skateboarders!”

Each team is required to have at least one pro skate on each obstacle, while the other two skaters can be anyone else on your team, am or pro…doesn’t matter. Then the top two scores are averaged, but one of the scores used MUST be a pro’s. I know, it’s slightly complicated, but after five years you pretty much get it.

Another great thing about the DTSD is that it’s a one-day, five hour event. That keeps it exciting and fun and no one gets bored out of their head with skateboarding overload. Here’s how it broke down:

Little China Girl
Leave it to Girl to always come up with a great idea. It only makes sense right? The illest company comes up with the coolest ideas. The replica of the China Banks was perfect and the hand-painted bricks, by the entire Girl crew of course, were a nice added touch
  • 1st - $2,500 – Zered Bassett – also know as Dr. Z, Zered is an ATV destroyer
  • 2nd - $1,500 – Angel Ramirez – it was only the beginning of his shredding
  • 3rd - $1,000 – Ron Deily – following in the footsteps of teammate Dr. Z, Ron is an ATV killer, too
This was the biggest pyramid that I’ve ever seen and Flip had some proper graphics on it, too. The mushrooms on the ground were a great touch. I don’t know what the ledge was supposed to be, but I’m glad it was there so I could witness Leo Romero destroy it.
  • 1st - $2,500 – Jani Laitiala – I’ll be damned if I can remember a single trick that Jani landed. My excuse is that I was announcing and unable to take notes, therefore the entire evening was a blur
  • 2nd - $1,500 – Nick Trapasso – proper-ass 360 flip. That’s all I can remember
  • 3rd - $1,000 – Louie Lopez – fs bigspin heelflip and hardflip…no problem at all for Louie. He’s already a force to be reckoned with, so I can only imagine what it’s going to be like when he grows up a bit
The Hesh Cross by Creature
This was my personal favorite obstacle due to all of the different transitions coming together. I wouldn’t mind this one right in the middle of the Street Course at Skatepark of Tampa.
  • 1st - $2,500 – Vince Del Valle – you know that Vince is one of those ATV guys, right? He rips everything and it’s rad to see Label supporting him
  • 2nd - $1,500 – Angel Ramirez – here he is again in the top three on another obstacle. That got him some cash and much needed points for Foundation to take the overall
  • 3rd - $1,000 – Jani Laitiala – he got a little bummed at Vern and I saying, “JAAANIII!!!” over the mic during the final obstacle, but I was hyped to see Jani kill it on transition, too
Black Label’s Drunk Tank & 12 Step Program
From the simulated liquor bar last year to their creativity this year, The Label always comes up with something really creative.
  • 1st - $2,500 – Nick Merlino – switch bs lipslide down the rail and switch flip over the stairs were the best in my book, but there were many more
  • 2nd - $1,500 – Billy Marks – had more tricks than anyone and almost did a cab kickflip right at the end…that might have made him the winner
  • 3rd - $1,000 – Filipe Ortiz – Schaefer accidentally called him Chris Ortiz, which was actually really funny, but Felipe broke his board on a fs flip over the rail and then came back to kill it with a brand new complete
Top Am
  • $5,000 – Nick Merlino – he skated every single obstacle and seriously dominated Black Label’s Drunk Tank and 12-Step Program. Nick is on the come up and is seriously good
Top Pro
  • $10,000 – Jani Laitiala – yep, that’s right…two years in a row. And of course you know that Jani skated every single obstacle, too. That’s how you become the MVP, son!
Overall Winning Team
  • 1st - $30,000 – Foundation – don’t you think the Foundation team is as sick as I do? Come on? Angel, Abdias, newcomer Elijah, and Alex Gourdouros did it without the help of Fellers and Duffel, who were both MIA
  • 2nd - $15,000 – Blind – last year’s winners slipped back a spot, but they still killed it with head-chief Weiss leading the charge
  • 3rd - $5,000 – Toy Machine – here’s a Jason Rothmeyer Fun Fact: The Machine has been in the top three of all five of the Downtown Showdowns. Those dudes have the strategy wired and now they have Leo to help them out, too
Thanks to all of our friends at Vans and FUEL for the great time and opportunity. Doing a live webcast along with an event is always a damn good time. Speerco, nice job on the ramps. Also, thanks to Mitsubishi for giving away the car and Epiphone for the prizes. See you on the set next year.


A Few Colin Clark Clips:
An Interview with Abdias Rivera:


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